What are opioids?

What are Opioids

Opioids are mind-altering (otherwise known as psychoactive) drugs. These drugs alter the way we feel pain and also inhibit our heart rate, breathing, actions, and thoughts. These drugs are called opioids because they are either produced from chemicals to intensify or provide the effects of natural opium or derived from the opium poppy. Opioids exist in different forms and some of which include codeine (e.g., Tylenol 3), heroin, and morphine. Opioids can be manufactured in regulated labs across the country, and they can be used for medical treatment both in and out of the medical center. An example of such prescription drugs are fentanyl and oxycodone (e.g., Percocet).

To abuse these drugs, some people of varying degrees of competence are manufacturing them in illicit labs. Drugs manufactured in illicit labs are often contaminated and vary in strength, and it even includes those that look like pills that are available in the pharmacies. In other words, opioids purchased illegally can be very harmful to the user.

Why do we use opioids?

There are many reasons why we use opioids. While some people are using it for temporary relief from adverse experiences, anxiety or difficult life circumstances and pain treatment, many other people are using it to experience a feeling of euphoria about drugs that are seen as hazardous. Some other people are using prescription opioids such as methadone to help them reduce their dependence on street opioids. Some other people are exposed to opioids that are mixed into another drug type bought from an unregulated supplier. Opioids can be harmful, just like all other drugs.

The use of opioids makes us feel comfortable at a party, but continuous usage of these drugs to address social anxiety may cause health problems. Although some of the prescription opioids like fentanyl are safe when used well, there may be risks especially when they are manufactured from illicit labs.